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Ian Curtis was a tortured soul, whose legacy arguably surpassed his ability, but is important because his story was integral in launching New Order that in turn helped to start-up Manchester’s Factory Records.


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Mid-seventies England wasn’t the brightest of landscapes to be brought up in, and its northern regions were downright depressing. Curtis left school and worked as a civil servant, but his ambition far outweighed the menial offerings office life gave him, and he a few mates started a band that would eventually become Joy Division.

Pic starts with the best intentions and is certainly intriguing at the get go. I know that a story needs a catalyst, and this one is driven by the relationship between Curtis and his wife Debbie. However, I’m dying to find a music biopic that sticks to the story of the musicians and the band.

To be fair it is based on Debbie’s book, but it gets a bit tedious when even the well-made movies of this genre – Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Buddy Holly Story, Ray and even La Bamba – seem to use the spouse as the main ingredient in the film. I want to know the history of the band – how they got together, who wrote the songs, how they got their big break etc. This type of thing is far more interesting to me than the fact the rock star is cheating on his or her spouse, or that they have fights over them being on the road. Well, d’uh, they’re in a band ya know.

There are some redeeming features with this one, not least the nostalgic soundtrack (well, to these ancient ears), and Sam Riley playing Curtis gives the character more depth than the depressive person that we were lead to believe Curtis was in his short life.

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